Russian fighter jets and Syrian barrel bombs pound Idlib province

Russian fighter jets and Syrian barrel bombs pound Idlib province

Russian fighter jets and Syrian barrel bombs pound Idlib province

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned against a "scorched earth" policy, but said "fighting terrorism in Idlib is an unavoidable".

The US has some 2,000 special forces troops deployed mainly in eastern Syria alongside the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and is primarily focused on ensuring the defeat of the ruthless Islamic State group and the full withdrawal of all Iranian and Iranian-led forces from Syria.

The Turkish leader said he feared a massacre and Turkey could not accommodate any more refugees flooding over its border.

"Idlib isn't just important for Syria's future, it is of importance for our national security and for the future of the region", Erdogan said.

None of Turkey's options look good, adds Aydıntaşbaş, as it faces both a humanitarian "catastrophe" and a result that could "forever alter the dynamics of the Syrian war - in favor of the regime". "Any fight against terrorists requires methods based on time and patience". "We never want to see Idlib turn into a lake of blood".

However, experts from the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have said government forces were behind an attack involving the nerve agent Sarin on a rebel-held town in southern Idlib in April 2017 that killed more than 80 people. However, the Post article itself admits that 14,000 fighters in Idlib are linked to al-Qaeda, though the figure is likely much higher.

Syria and Russian Federation have carried out their most intensive air raids in weeks on rebel positions in the northern province of Idlib, activists say. And Russia wants to maintain its regional presence to fill the vacuum left by America's long uncertainty about what it wants in the conflict.

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Rebels have been preparing for the attack, but the odds aren't in their favour.

"We hope that we will be able to reach an agreement and that our call for reconciliation in the Idlib area will be heard", the Russian president said.

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Putin responded: "The fact is that there are no representatives of the armed opposition here around this table".

A Syrian man walks past a stall in the rebel-held northern Syrian city of Idlib's central Clock Square on September 6, 2018.

"Idlib is about a lot of global power play and everyone is looking after their interests", al-Mustafa said.

Syrian government and Russian warplanes on Saturday targeted the southern edge of Idlib province with an intense wave of airstrikes and shelling, activists and a war monitoring group said, ratcheting up the military pressure on the densely populated rebel-held bastion.

The rare show of force in Syria comes months after US aircraft -including AC-130 gunships, jets and bombers - killed roughly 300 Russian mercenaries near Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria after American special operations forces came under attack. The Asayish said seven of its members and 11 government personnel were killed.

Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov, meanwhile, said Moscow had "irrefutable information" that Syrian rebels were planning a "provocation" in Idlib province to justify western intervention.

"International support must go beyond statements of concern or 'anger, ' as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted".

In a statement describing the air-assault that took place Friday night in Syria, a spokesman for the USA military's Central Command, responsible for all American forces in the Middle East said it was an effort to "demonstrate the capability to deploy rapidly, assault a target with integrated air and ground forces, and conduct a rapid exfiltration anywhere in the Operation Inherent Resolve combined joint operations area", said Navy Capt. Bill Urban, using the name for the coalition to defeat ISIS in a separate statement.

Idlib now hosts about three million people, including one million children, according to the United Nations, and the expected government plans for an assault on the province have raised fears of a humanitarian disaster. The US will chair a UN Security Council meeting on Friday about the possible offensive.

In addition to attempting to expel Iranian forces, the Trump administration's new "strategy" in Syria will also consist of the "establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the global community", notes the Post.

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